While not a direct measure, the level of education attainment in the adult population provides an important indicator of the skills available in the local workforce. Higher levels of educational attainment generally correspond with higher household income, greater levels of civic participation and better overall health outcomes. Many industries have also come to expect a certain level of post-secondary education as a pre-requisite for employment.
The graph below shows the change in the percentage of the population over 25 with two different levels of educational attainment in Cheshire County and its neighbors from 2000 to 2019, those without a High School diploma and those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2000, Cheshire County had the highest rate of adults without at least a High School diploma among its neighbors. As the graph below demonstrates, Cheshire County also experienced the second fastest decrease in this population when compared to its neighboring counties. This has resulted in the population of those with at least a Bachelor’s degree to become the majority in 2019, overtaking the percentage of the population with only a High School diploma.
In fact, only the share of those over 25 with at least some form of post-secondary education grew from 2000-2019 in Cheshire County. While the overall population of those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher lags behind some neighboring counties, the overall increase in those obtaining post-secondary education is a huge step towards ensuring the region’s workforce is skilled, competitive and able to meet the needs of local employers.